Last week I read a post by Bangs & A Bun. She wrote an open letter to the fitness industry and talked about how fucked up it is. But more than just critiquing she asked people ‘what is your message?’ and that got me thinking about my message.
My message is that fitness is a wonderful choice not a punishment.
I don’t run to lose weight.
I don’t go to HIIT classes to lose weight.
I don’t go to yoga to lose weight.
I don’t do any of these things to become less than I am now, physically or mentally. I don’t ever weigh myself and I don’t calorie count and I don’t post all that useless information on social media.
I run to fly.
I go to HIIT classes so that I can carry my own luggage up and down stairs and have biceps which pop.
I go to yoga classes so that I can touch my toes.
I go to classes to laugh.
I go to run clubs to socialise and be part of a team.
My message is that sweating is a luxury and a gift. It isn’t a chore. It isn’t about how I look. It’s about how I feel. I don’t care about how big / small / cellulite-y my thighs are or how short / tall / fat / thin I am.
The fitness industry as it is now is one of the most exclusionary industries out there. I even know of a run club which only lets you join if you come with a personal recommendation, and HIIT classes which only let you in the room if you are also a model. I choose to never surround myself with people who judge me because of who I know or how I look.
Social media is full of people criticising the way they look. Please don’t add to the negative noise. Run because you love it, because you feel free, because you feel alive. Not because of your thighs or your arms or your tummy.
So my message is that working out is a joy – it’s fun. And my hope is that everyone else can one day feel the same.